A/N: My beta reader is having some problems this week so I’m putting this up unbeta’d until she has chance to do it.
A/N (update): Beta’d version now up.
“I’m rejigging the sleeping arrangements,” Sonia said when they finished with Lucas for the night. “If you stay in the same room, your bond is likely to revert to the tangled state.”
“Oh.” The thought of being separated made Andrew’s stomach knot up unexpectedly. “Do we have to?”
“She’s right.” Naria lifted her head from Andrew’s shoulder where she’s been resting it wearily after their efforts. “I hadn’t thought of that. The bond has memory and will revert to its former state if we don’t take positive action to stop it.” She paused and looked sad. “We’ll need to spend less time with each other as well, at least until we’ve finished loosening the bond and it’s set in it’s new position.”
â€œIt won’t take long,â€ Sonia said reassuringly. â€œAnd you’ll only be in the next room. You aren’t untangled enough to go far from each other yet. Now come on, Matt is making some hot chocolate before you go to bed.â€ She ushered them into the kitchen.
â€œDid you talk about Melissa’s theory?â€ Andrew asked.
â€œWe did.â€ Matthias set two steaming mugs of hot chocolate on the table. â€œIt’s interesting and worth looking into.â€
â€œMy instinct is that Melissa is right,â€ Sonia said. â€œI just wish we knew what Xantaria wants. She’s nasty and doing a great deal of harm but I doubt she’s just doing it for amusement.â€
â€œIt scarcely matters,â€ Matthias said. â€œShe’s given us no reason to think she even means well, and torturing the Lost Ones for something that wasn’t their fault is enough to put her so far beyond any kind of pale on its own without what she did to Kayleigh and Robert. And then there’s the damned neurotoxin.â€
â€œOh, no doubt she’s an evil bitch,â€ Sonia said. â€œBut I doubt she thinks of herself that way. She must think she has a good reason and I’m curious.â€
â€œWe’ll ask her once we stop her,â€ Matthias said. â€œBut speaking of stopping her, I’ve been meaning to ask. Do we know anything about her heart friend?â€
â€œI don’t,â€ Naria said. â€œBut I can ask. My mirian will be able to find out if he doesn’t know himself, but I doubt they know where he or she is â€“ it would have come up if they did. Most of the idri council’s heart friends â€“ how do you put it â€“ dropped off the radar a long time ago. We think they’re hiding them somehow. I was really surprised when Alsia-ida’s heart friend turned up.â€
â€œWe need to talk to Fellaria as well, then,â€ Matthias said. â€œShe’ll probably know where they are.â€
â€œAre you planning to use them against their partners?â€ Naria asked. â€œBecause I’m not sure that’s ethical.â€
â€œOnly if they are in league with their partners,â€ Matthias said. â€œOtherwise I want to ally with them. Which I suppose is still using them but not what you meant, I think.â€
â€œNo, not at all,â€ she agreed. â€œI’ll send an imp while Sonia-ida is fixing the sleeping arrangements, then.â€